Monday, May 14, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Oliver

Album:Good Morning Starshine: The best Of Oliver

William Oliver Swofford AKA Oliver had brief success with the 1969 top five hits Good Morning Starshine and Jean. The music was produced by legendary hitmaker Bob Crewe. Oliver's singing career ended when he expressed interest in being a folksinger and Crewe wasn't interested. He was born Feb. 22, 1945 in North Wilkesboro, NC. He began singing while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a member of The Virginians and The Good Earth as Bill Swofford. Bob Crewe was best known as producer of The Four Seasons, Mitch Ryder and he even had hits with his own group The Bob Crewe Generation. So he spotted Swofford and renamed him Oliver. Oliver hit it big first time out with his cover of Good Morning Starshine from the Broadway musical Hair. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. The next single Jean did even better and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jean was written by hippie poet Rod McKuen and McKuen recorded it for the 1968 film The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. A lot of McKuen's songs were covered by pop singers in the 60s. That was the end of Oliver's success. Tarragon Records released an Oliver comp in 2005 but it is now out of print. Swofford did write songs and he wanted to be a singer songwriter. Crewe wasn't interested and they parted ways in 1971. Swofford recorded an album for United Artists in 1971 and toured through the 70s as Bill Swofford. Obviously he was a very good singer but didn't seem to click without the Bob Crewe touch. He quit the music business and went into real estate and later was an exec for a pharmaceutical company. Bill Swofford died of cancer on Feb. 12, 2000 at age 54. Here's Oliver performing Jean in 1969.

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